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Reducing Portion Sizes Can Reduce Calories

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has determined that Americans are eating approximately 150 more calories per day than they were 20 years ago. Over the course of a year, this can lead to 15 extra pounds. However, diet and nutrition editor of Fitness magazine, Leah McLaughlin, noted that reducing portion sizes can help reduce calories. McLaughlin said, “Lots of people are hung up on not eating fat or protein. But at the end of the day, Americans are just eating too many calories.”

McLaughlin suggests that if you must buy food items that are larger than normal, eat only part of the product and save the rest for later. This is also a good practice to use in restaurants. If the serving size is large, ask for a doggy bag right away or split an entrée with a friend. Or, consider ordering an appetizer as your main entrée. McLaughlin added that if you are confused about portion sizes, using your hand can be a good frame of reference. Meat should be about the size of your palm while cereal and side dishes should be the size of your fist. McLaughlin also noted, “If you overeat at one meal, compensate at another. It’s all about balance.” (CBS, February 28, 2003)


Get Trim Arizona Launched

Recently, a new campaign was launched to encourage people in Arizona to lose weight. The goal is to lose a collective one million pounds in six months. The new campaign, “Get Trim Arizona,” is being sponsored by Hi Health, Kemin Consumer Care, Phoenix Suns, Arizona Diamondbacks, America West Airlines and the Phoenix Firefighters Association. The purpose of the campaign is to increase people’s awareness of the various health risks assocated with obesity such as diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease. Participants can sign up to be a part of the campaign and weigh in at various centers in Arizona. A recent poll found that 76 percent of the residents in Arizona feel that the majority of Arizonans are overweight and Men’s Fitness named Phoenix the 14th fattest city in the U.S. For more information about the program, consumers can visit (Phoenix Business Journal February 28, 2002)


Researchers believe that people who have large waistlines also have large amounts of fat in their abdomen – which could be extremely dangerous as increased abdominal fat may increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer. Researchers believe that this type of fat, also known as visceral fat, may also be linked to high cholesterol, high insulin, high triglycerides, high blood pressure and other problems.

Although it seems that this fat can be very dangerous, there is something that can be done. Reducing excess weight and becoming physically active can help reduce visceral fat. In fact, studies indicate that regular exercise (such as walking at a brisk pace for 30-45 minutes a day) can greatly reduce fat in the abdominal region.

Researchers say that men with a waist greater than 40 inches and women with a waist greater than 35 inches are at an increased risk for various health problems. Robert Ross, an exercise physiologist at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, noted, “In addition to the stethoscope around their necks, physicians should be carrying a tape measure.” (USA Today, February 25, 2003)


Calories still count

It is becoming difficult to pick up a magazine or newspaper and not find some mention of the need to reduce dietary fat intake to 30 percent or less of calories. Numerous health and government authorities, including the U.S. Surgeon General, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Heart Association and the American Dietetic Association, advocate reducing dietary fat to 30 percent or less of total calories. Even the percent daily value of fat appearing on food labels is based on 30 percent of calories. But are Americans heeding these messages?

It appears that they are at least making some effort to reduce fat intake, according to a survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals, CSFII). This survey shows that from 1994 to 1996 the average American diet contained 33 percent of total calories from fat, down from 40 percent in 1978, which is extremely encouraging.

What is not encouraging, however, is the finding that Americans in general are seeing a heavier weight when they step on the scale. According to a survey published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the number of overweight Americans has jumped from 45 percent in 1991 to 56 percent. Approximately 20 percent of Americans are overweight.

Other studies support these findings. A study from the National Institutes of Health confirms that in 1992-93, the average weight of Americans age 25-30 was 171 pounds. In 1985-86, the average weight was 161 pounds for the same age group.

Why then, if the percent of fat in the diet is decreasing, is obesity increasing? After all, fat has nine calories per gram while protein and carbohydrates only have four each.

The answer may not be a simple one. Experts believe a number of factors contribute to the increase in body weight. The continuing physical inactivity of Americans has been cited by numerous researchers as a major factor. Only 40 percent of Americans exercise on a regular basis. In addition, researchers point to such symptoms of a sedentary lifestyle as a 10 percent decline in sports participation from 1985-90, and a decline in manufacturing jobs, which means fewer people move around at work.

Other factors include a decrease in physical activity caused by television, a continuing increase in the usage of automobiles, and a decrease in physical education classes in schools. And these symptoms may be here to stay. ³Experts agree that the root causes of obesity in the country ‹ a sedentary lifestyle and an abundance of food ‹ are very difficult to change,² says New York Times writer Marian Burros in a recent article on Americans¹ weight gain.

Excess caloric intake, however, is also a factor. According to the latest National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), total caloric intake by adults increased from 1,969 calories in 1978 to 2,200 in 1990.

Obviously, calories still count! Weight is determined by the number of calories consumed and the number used as energy. If more calories are consumed than burned, the result is weight gain. Merely controlling grams of fat consumed, which was popular nutrition advice in the past, does not necessarily result in a reduction in calories.

As Dr. James Hill, who is with the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, recently stated, “The idea that you can eat whatever you want as long as you don¹t eat fat is totally wrong. There¹s solid evidence that the composition of the diet is important, but it¹s not just an issue of fat; total calories count too. So, yes, eat low fat. But don¹t forget calories.”


Food Database


Raspberry Swirl Peach Soup

Want to look like a creative genius? Chilled peach soup with swirls of raspberry puree makes a healthy first course that’s so tasty and so stunning.

3 pounds peaches, peeled, seeded, sliced
3 cups peach nectar
1/3 to 1/2 cup NutraSweet® Spoonful™
1 pint fresh or frozen, thawed raspberries
1/4 cup NutraSweet® Spoonful™
Freshly grated nutmeg
Mint sprigs
Yield: Makes 6 servings

Process peaches, peach nectar and 1/3 to 1/2 cup NutraSweet® Spoonful™ in blender or food processor until smooth; refrigerate until chilled.

Process raspberries in blender or food processor until smooth; strain and discard seeds. Stir 1/4 cup NutraSweet® Spoonful™ into raspberry puree; refrigerate until chilled.

Spoon peach mixture into bowls; swirl raspberry mixture through soup, using 2 to 3 tablespoons raspberry puree for each bowl. Sprinkle lightly with nutmeg; garnish with mint.

GARNISH (if desired) 1/2 cup fruit to include mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries and blackberries).

Per serving : 1/6 recipe, 140 calories, 1 g protein, 36 g carbohydrates, trace total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 g fiber, 9 mg sodium


Photo provided courtesy of The NutraSweet Company


Oriental Chicken “A La Microwave”

Oriental Chicken “A La Microwave”
An “FF&D” Entree . . . Fast, Fit and Delicious!
4 tablespoons white wine, divided 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 large clove garlic, minced 1 teaspoon honey
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peel 1 packet Sweet ‘N Low® granulated sugar substitute
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon paprika
4 chicken cutlets (about 1 pound) Few grains ground black pepper
1 teaspoon sesame seeds 1 teaspoon cornstarch
Chopped green onion and fresh parsley for garnish

Yield: Makes 4 servings

In shallow 1-1/2-quart micro-proof dish, combine 1 tablespoon wine, soy sauce, garlic, honey, lemon peel, Sweet ‘N Low, ginger and paprika. Add chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate several hours.

To promote even cooking, tuck under any thin ends of chicken. Spoon marinade over chicken. Sprinkle with pepper and sesame seeds. Cover tightly with wax paper. Cook on medium-high power 6 to 8 minutes or just until cooked through, turning dish if chicken appears to be cooking unevenly. Remove chicken to serving dish and keep warm.

In glass measuring cup, stir together cornstarch and remaining 3 tablespoons white wine; stir into drippings in dish. Cook, uncovered, on high power 1 to 2 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly. Pour over chicken. Sprinkle with green onion and parsley.

Per serving: 170 calories

Please enjoy these fine recipes and let us know what you think! Did they come out the way you expected? Were they easy enough to prepare? Were you satisfied???


Chocolate Custard

Chocolate Custard
A velvety smooth, rich-tasting chocolate dessert that saves you a whopping 130 calories per serving when using this sugar substitute.

2 cups skim milk, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons cornstarch, 3 packets Sweet One® granulated sugar substitute, 2 large eggs, slightly beaten, 1 teaspoon chocolate extract

Yield: Makes 8 servings

In a medium saucepan, whisk together skim milk, sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch and Sweet One®. Whisking constantly, cook 6-8 minutes, until mixture boils and thickens.

Remove saucepan from heat. Stir 1/4 cup milk mixture into beaten eggs, stirring constantly to avoid curdling. Pour egg mixture back into saucepan and stir in extract. Cook, stirring constantly over low heat 2-3 minutes or until custard thickens. Do not let custard come to a boil.

Pour custard into individual dessert cups or a serving bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.

Per serving: 80 calories, 4 g protein, 2 g fat, 13 g carbohydrate, 55 mg cholesterol, 50 mg sodium

Please enjoy these fine recipes and let us know what you think! Did they come out the way you expected? Were they easy enough to prepare? Were you satisfied???


Oriental-Style Sea Scallops

1-1/2 cups broccoli flowerets
1 cup thinly sliced onion
2 tablespoons sesame or vegetable oil
1 pound sea scallops
3 cups thinly sliced Napa cabbage or bok choy
2 cups snow peas, ends trimmed
1 cup shitake or common mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons ground star anise
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 to 3 teaspoons light reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water
2 to 3 tablespoons NutraSweet® Spoonful™
4 cups hot cooked rice

Yield: Makes 6 servings

Stir-fry broccoli and onion 3 to 4 minutes in oil in wok or large skillet. Add scallops, cabbage, snow peas, mushrooms, garlic, anise and coriander; stir-fry 2 to 3 minutes.

Add chicken broth, vinegar and soy sauce; heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until scallops are cooked and vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Heat to boiling.

Mix cornstarch and cold water. Stir cornstarch mixture into boiling mixture; boil, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat; let stand 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in NutraSweet® Spoonful, serve over rice.

NOTE: 2 teaspoons five-spice powder can be substituted for the star anise and coriander; amounts of vinegar and soy sauce may need to be adjusted to taste.

Per serving: 1/6 recipe (approx. 2 oz. scallops and 2/3 cup rice), 330 calories, 20 g protein, 49 g carbohydrates, 6 g total fat, <1 g saturated fat, 26 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 276 mg sodium DIABETIC FOOD EXCHANGE: 2 lean meat, 2-1/2 starches, 1 vegetable Please enjoy these fine recipes and let us know what you think! Did they come out the way you expected? Were they easy enough to prepare? Were you satisfied???